A member of the Brompton team based in Hungary gives their thought on the first Brompton Urban Challenge Budapest.
Planning and organising such an event was a complex task to do – fortunately, we had some partners in crime; first and foremost the team at Hosszúlépés, famous for their popular urban walks for Budapesters. As our aim was to establish the Brompton traditions rooted in Great Britain, it seemed a good idea to bring into play the British traditions in Budapest. Following this concept, we compiled a list of checkpoints for our challenge, each one connected to little-known or already forgotten British stories, traces or memories.
While the team at Hosszúlépés was working on the details, we arranged for Jelen Bistro to provide the venue for us and also found our main sponsor; MediHelp International. We were given a hand by the British Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, a newly opened bike shop called AlleyCat and by the British Embassy. By the last week before the event, our Urban Challenge was almost ready; we had designed and printed all the accessories, completed the starter package and collected the prizes. And then we started to worry a bit as the weather forecast left us with nothing but hope.
On the morning of the event it seemed that the meteorologists were right; heading to Jelen Bistro it was raining like it would never end. We had no choice but hope that our attendees would be enthusiastic and water-resistant! Although Adam Kettle-Williams, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy (arriving on their own “company Brompton bike”) seemed to feel comfortable in the London-like weather. After his short opening speech, the bikers formed teams, were given the list of checkpoints, the rules and the point sheets, and started to create their tactics.
‘Is it better to start with climbing the Buda Hills to find the most British object (namely our Brompton Mini, almost fully covered by the fog)? Is it wiser to unravel the secrets of the Shakespeare statue on the bank of the river Danube first, or should we look swiftly for the booth of the Great Market Hall, where Margaret Thatcher once bought groceries?’ Making a good itinerary was just one thing to focus on, it was also crucial to plan the way they travelled, as they were offered extra points for every means of transport they used with their Bromptons. Bromptoneers popped up on buses, subways, trams, trains, Budapest’s cogwheel railway and so on, in some cases for the first time ever.
The teams started to explore the city, following the traces of Britons; reading QR codes to face witty missions, taking pictures to prove their inventiveness or collecting stamps from secret checkpoints while it was raining almost constantly. So what they needed was not just a proper raincoat, but also devotion and a good mood, not to mention creativity; did you know that one could easily turn a plastic bottle into a spare mudguard on a model E?
By early afternoon, the heroes and heroines of the very first Brompton Urban Challenge in Hungary were given some extra motivation in the form of some weak beams of sunlight. And as the weather got better and better, the teams became even more enthusiastic so by the official closing time of our game no one had actually appeared on the horizon. Finally they got back, one after another, holding their rain-soaked points sheets and showing us pictures on their phones, smiling with their Bromptons and teammates – all of them fuelled by adrenaline and happiness.
While the bikers recharged their batteries with a great lunch, we tallied their points to announce the results. The winners were awarded medals, a cup, and vouchers for our webshop, while the most creative and wittiest teams received prizes from MediHelp International and Hosszúlépés. But all that aside, it was the kind of race where all the participants could be proud of themselves. Not only the bikes, but also the riders had to be heavy-duty to finish!